LOCAL DIVE SHOPS HELP CRF™ INCREASE CORAL OUTPLANTS!
Our restoration team is not just restoring reefs, we are supporting local economies! Florida's Coral Reef is a major fishery and tourist attraction that brings billions of dollars into the state's economy each year. Saving the reef ensures all the jobs and livelihoods that depend on the existence of the reef are secured into the future as well. Linked to our work is our ability to collaborate with local dive shops to bring our team to the reef! CRF™ charters local dive operators to take our teams to our coral nurseries and restoration sites. This helps our mission because it increases our productivity, by fitting up to three times as many divers and corals on a boat. There is no doubt that recreational divers love seeing healthy coral restoration sites as well, so these collaborations really are a win-win-win!
In the first 2 weeks of August, we teamed up with 5 dive charter companies, Better Than Most, Island Ventures, Rainbow Reef, Quiescence, and Silent World Dive Center. These operators transported our team where they needed to be and we outplanted ~3400 corals on 5 different reefs along the Keys! Another ~3700 corals were outplanted using our own 6-pac work boats. Overall, over 7,000 corals were returned to the reef in just 2 weeks thanks to our stellar team and our supportive recreational diving community.
KEY WEST EXPANSION CONTINUES!
Exciting news from the Lower Key’s restoration team! Our lower Keys team has acquired a new office space and storage area. The new office space, once set up, will allow Lower Keys volunteers to be trained in nursery maintenance and outplanting in a comfortable setting. The storage areas will be used for our dive and restoration gear, minimizing the time it takes to pack and unpack for nursery and outplanting dive trips in the lower keys! The building is located just off Overseas Highway making it easy to find for volunteers and easy to us operate dive trips out of. Overall, the addition of a new building will increase the capacity of work the Lower Key’s team can complete.
AU REVOIR TO THE ALEXES
The end of August marks the end of the summer term for the interns. Restoration had two program interns this summer. Alex Sapien was based in the Upper Keys and led drive trips to our Upper Keys nurseries, performing maintenance trips and outplanting trips when the weather allowed it. She played a vital role in teaching first round interns, preparing teams for dive trips, and organizing our operations facility while our operations grow as an organization. Alex Walker was based in the Lower Keys. He focused on setting up our new Looe Key nursery, planning and executing dive trips in the lower Keys and coordinating projects to build Coral Trees™ and duckbills. He also helped set up the workspace for Lower Keys operations. Both Alexes are grateful for the mentors and friends they have gained through CRF™ and the experience that will promote success in future endeavors.
Bringing it Back Editorial Intern
Alex Walker is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. A recent graduate from the University of
Kansas, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Geology. At 10 years old he passed his junior open water diver test. His love for marine life grew as he progressed in dive certifications. At age 16, Alex received his Master Scuba Diver certification. He says he feels very fortunate to have experienced many amazing dives during his dive training and exploring. Alex joined Coral Restoration Foundation™ to give back and protect the reefs he loves while learning how to restore marine environments and teach future generations how to do the same. Alex is excited to explore the crossroad of Geology and Marine Conservation during his time with Coral Restoration Foundation™!
Coral Chronicles Editor
Madalen Howard is CRF's Communications and Outreach Coordinator. She comes to CRF™ via a winding road from the Tennessee hills, to the South Carolina low country, ending here in Florida’s Coral Reef. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology and a Minor in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston in 2016. Her experience ranges from field research to education, marketing and digital communications.
With CRF™ Madalen creates inclusive pathways to scientific discovery through content creation and by building and fostering relationships with press, digital media creators, and local community members. Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature, and is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration.